Florida’s first ‘tool time’ sales-tax holiday starts during Labor Day weekend

Tool Time Sales Tax – Leather tool belt with construction tools on wooden board maintenance concept. – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Mihalec

The Sunshine State’s first “tool time” sales-tax holiday on tools, home repair, and construction items will start during the Labor Day weekend.

The seven-day holiday, which was part of a wide-ranging tax bill passed earlier this year, will give shoppers the opportunity to avoid paying sales taxes on several construction and home-repair items from Saturday, Sept. 3 through Sept. 9. 

“I think it’s just to give a boost to our skilled workers,” Florida Retail Federation President Scott Shalley said. “The Legislature and the governor had a lot of insight to say, ‘Let’s give them a break around Labor Day here.’ I think it’s a great time, particularly with the inflationary pressures we are seeing right now.”

The quirky name of the holiday loosely comes from the famous home-improvement 1990s sitcom, “Home Improvement.” The idea of these discounts comes from recognizing the efforts of workers, lawmakers said. 

“If you think about a year-and-a-half or two years ago, the first time we started hearing the word COVID, one of the things you started hearing after that is who’s essential and essential workers,” Rep. Joe Harding, R-Williston, said as he argued for the tax holiday March 2 on the House floor. “We heard a lot about our first responders and our health-care workers. But we also learned really quickly how essential the people that pick up a tool bag and drive a work truck every day are.”

The tax package (HB 7071), which Governor Ron DeSantis signed back in May, also included tax holidays for buying disaster-preparation items prior to hurricane season, back-to-school items, and recreation and entertainment items for Independence Day.

DeSantis and lawmakers also approved a period when people could purchase children’s books without paying sales tax and gave year-long tax exemptions on items such as Energy Star appliances and baby diapers. In addition, Florida’s gasoline tax will be suspended for a month in October.

The tool-time holiday is expected to decrease state revenue by $9.6 million and local revenue by $2.8 million.

The holiday will also benefit “everyday homeowners,” according to Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of the nonprofit Florida TaxWatch.

Below are some of the purchases exempt from sales tax during the holiday:

  • Hand tools, LED flashlights, safety glasses, protective coveralls, and duffle bags that cost $50 or less.
  • Work gloves that cost $25 or less.
  • Toolboxes that cost $75 or less.
  • Shop lights, tool belts and electrical voltage, and related testing equipment that cost $100 or less.
  • Work boots that cost $175 or less.
  • Handheld pipe cutters, drain opening tools, and plumbing inspection equipment that cost $150 or less.

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